7 October 2004Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has announced the establishment of a 21-member council that will review and monitor the implementation of the black economic empowerment (BEE) goals set out in the financial services charter.The council, made up of representatives of various organisations in the financial sector, was formed in September following behind-the-scenes horse-trading.The Financial Services Charter Council will consist of 21 representatives, six from industry associations, three from the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, and four each from the government, community associations, and labour.Two of the four government representatives in the council will be drawn from the National Treasury, while the Department of Trade and Industry and the Presidency will each have one representative.The announcement follows a meeting between the government and representatives from the different constituencies to resolve the council’s composition.The council is the first of its kind to be established since the government launched its BEE strategy, which encourages different economic sectors to voluntarily draw up their own charters to measure BEE targets.The financial services charter was launched in October last year, and the sector has since been grappling with the establishment of an independent body to oversee the charter’s implementation.Manuel said the council would meet four times a year, with its first session scheduled for 11 October.Manuel noted that though the council’s composition would not please everybody, its formation was “an achievement”. The formation of the council was in the best interest of the country, he said, and the process needed to be nurtured.Derek Muller of the Banking Council said the model was not ideal considering the large number of people involved in the industry. He added, however: “I don’t think you can experience an ideal model … I think all of us collectively agree this is a workable model, though there are concerns.”Kenny Bungane, representing the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, said the council was a starting point and would provide much-needed energy “to test ourselves on how the sector is transforming”.Source: BuaNews
24 April 2007South Africa’s famous ultra-luxury Blue Train is set to go private. State rail company Spoornet is to offer the Blue Train to investors on a long-term lease, as the operator focuses on its core business of bulk freight transportation.According to Business Day, Public Enterprises Director-General Portia Molefe told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises last month that the department had received a disposal strategy from Spoornet’s parent company, Transnet, with bidding to start by the end of April.According to the newspaper, bidding will be open to both local and international rail operators, with speculation that Chinese, Indian and British investors are interested in the sale.“Unlike other previous privatisation attempts, the disposal of the Blue Train has received the blessing of trade unions, which see the train as not being strategic to the interests of the working class,” Business Day adds.‘Moving five-star hotel’The Blue Train is synonymous with the ultimate in luxury and personal service. “Kings and presidents have travelled on this magnificent moving five-star hotel,” the Blue Train website proclaims.The train’s regular route between Pretoria and Cape Town, which includes a stop-over in Kimberley, is described as “a 27-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent”.The train also offers trips between Pretoria and Zimbali Lodge outside Durban during November, and specials such as a Mother’s Day trip between Pretoria and Sun City.There are currently two Blue Train “sets”. The one accommodates 82 guests in 41 suites, while the other carries 74 guests in 37 suites and includes a conference or observation deck at the rear of the train.The train is the epitome of luxury, with butlers on board are ready to attend to any of the guests’ needs. Two engineers are also always on hand to share their knowledge about the train with enthusiasts or curious travellers.According to the website, a meal on the Blue Train is an experience in itself, with the menus featuring a selection of local cuisine – from Karoo lamb and ostrich fillet to Knysna oysters – accompanied by award-winning cultivars from the Cape winelands.The train has received numerous awards through its 61-year existence, including Diners Club platinum awards for its wine lists, a “superior status” award from the AA Grading Council, and numerous “world’s leading luxury train” awards in the World Travel Awards.Christina Patterson, in an article published in London’s The Independent in March 2006, wrote: “Truly, the train, celebrating its 60th birthday, offers the luxury, and opulence, of another era.“We shriek with delight over our beautiful compartments, each with its own mini wardrobe, telly and tiny bathroom. We also shriek with delight at the ‘club lounge’. In spite of our resolutions, we’re soon toasting our trip in sparkling wine and biltong.“Perhaps the Queen, who made the same journey with Princess Margaret in 1947, did the same.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Nedbank Dream Catchers – riders who raised more than R15 000 in 2012 – from left to right: Bastiaan Smit, finance executive at Nedbank Retail; Veronique Breugelmans, a Reach For A Dream volunteer; Bronwyn du Preez, Business IT Strategist at Nedbank Retail; and, Louise Davies, from Nedbank Wealth.(Image: Nedbank Dream Riders)MEDIA CONTACTS• Nkosinathi MsizaNedbank: Communications+27 11 295 3560Ray MaotaOver 200 youngsters will benefit after a team of passionate and dedicated cyclists raised over R1-million for the Reach for a Dream Foundation, which helps youngsters with life-threatening ailments fulfil their life dreams. A growing teamA team of 488 cyclists took part in the 2012 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg and collectively raised R1 050-million (US$118 801) for various projects. Dream Riders began in 2007 when eight employees at Nedbank, one of South Africa’s big four banks, collected sponsorships from friends and family for every kilometre of the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge they completed.By joining the team, each cyclist commits to raising at least R1 200 ($135) in sponsorships and donations, while riders can ride either the 40km, mountain bike or road race as a Dream Rider. The annual 94.7 Cycle Challenge is the world’s second-largest timed cycle race, after the Cape Argus Cycle Race, which takes place each year in Cape Town.Between 20 000 and 30 000 riders complete the challenging 94.7km course every year. The event’s main sponsors are radio station 94.7 Highveld Stereo and Momentum, the life insurance company. Volunteering to helpKone Gugushe, the divisional executive of corporate social responsibility at Nedbank, explains: “We encourage our employees and clients to volunteer in support of our corporate service initiatives objectives to develop and grow volunteerism in the workplace as a logical extension of our vision-led, values-driven ethos, as well as our deep green aspiration of being highly involved in the community and environment.”Nedbank’s staff members are encouraged to play their part in uplifting and empowering communities through volunteering for such initiatives. Some of those for which they volunteer are: the Local Hero Programme, which encourages and honours individuals who participate in volunteer work by supporting their projects financially; and the Team Challenge Programme, a 10-month staff volunteerism programme in which staff form teams that support various non-profit organisations. Reaching for the dreamGugushe said: “Reach for a Dream gives hope and fulfils dreams of over 200 children with life-threatening ailments in our society and we believe that this contribution will enable them to help more children … Additionally, through such initiatives, we are able to extend our reach and make a meaningful difference where we might not have been able to reach ourselves.”Bronwyn Feldwick-Davis, Reach for a Dream’s projects and marketing manager, said it was a landmark year for the foundation as the number of riders doubled, and together they raised R1-million ($113 147).“This makes the Dream Riders one of our biggest fundraising events of the year and enables us to distribute the funds to all of our seven branches. Nedbank once again sponsored all the costs for the team, for which we are so grateful,” she said. “This allows all the money raised by the cyclists to go directly to dreams and projects and not expenses.” How the money helpsReach for a Dream helps youngsters aged from three to 18. According to Dream Riders, to fulfil a dream for a child who has a life-threatening illness, on average costs R3 500. The diseases that the youngsters who benefit from this project have include cystic fibrosis, HIV/Aids, renal failure, type 1 diabetes, and leukaemia.They have varying wishes, among them going scuba diving, going shopping, going to the airport, going on a steam train ride, meeting the president, and going on a submarine ride.Reach for a Dream says that for children with life-threatening illnesses, the magic of childhood may be lost in the emotional, physical and financial strain of dealing with their disease. The foundation tries to alleviate some of this strain, which often affects the whole family, by creating a different environment for the child – one that is not focused on her or his illness.
Ranbir KapoorHe won over both the masses and the critics with his good looks and acting chops but while growing up Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor had his heart set on being a football player.He let that dream go but the 28-year-old actor is now campaigning to make sports a part of school curriculums across the country with the ‘Fit India Movement’, a campaign launched by NDTV in collaboration with Nirmal Lifestyle.”I loved football, but I did not have anybody to guide me about making it a career. If Indian children have the coaches and the facilities that are available abroad, we will be world champions,” said Kapoor who is the brand ambassador of the campaign.The actor was in Delhi to launch the first phase of the campaign called ‘Marks For Sports’ and shared the stage with ace shooter Gagan Narang, billiards champion Pankaj Advani, Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, boxing champion Vijender Singh and former cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.”It all begins at the school level and Marks for Sports is a campaign that will help discover the talent that our children have and sports teaches you so much. Other than making you fit, it teaches you discipline, motivation and team spirit,” said the actor who entered the venue on a bicycle.